Disclaimer: From this point forward, there will be major spoilers for the final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Proceed at your own discretion. See here for the spoiler-free review.
Let’s start with the first four-episode arc of the season, The Bad Batch. Just a quick recap, this whole season takes place at the end of the Clone Wars, with this arc taking place during the Outer Rim Sieges with Jedi Knights Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Mace Windu, and their clone battalions. The arc focuses on Anakin’s clone captain Rex, who has shown his growth as a leader and as a character in other similar arcs, Throughout the special clone unit force 99 aka The Bad Batch, Rex believes his clone brother Echo is still alive and is being used by the Separatists as a weapon against the Republic. The Bad Batch, however, believe Rex is too emotionally centered and worries that this will lead them to defeat. The clones however find Echo alive and together they use Echo’s knowledge to defeat the Separatists and gain ground in the Outer Rim.
The dialogue between The Bad Batch and Rex is great to watch, despite it being one voice actor for all the clones. Through this dialogue Rex soon learns to respect the Bad Batch despite their aggressive tactics and differences from regular clones. Each member of The Bad Batch had a different personality and at some point, you forget that they are even clones and just see them as people. Stand-out members of The Bad Batch were Tech and Crosshair. These two maintained a constant back and forth with the other members, Hunter and Wrecker Rex, Echo, and even Anakin at some points with the animation flawlessly showing more detail in facial movements and body language than any other season has.
The episodes in this arc are very solid with great moments like Mace Windu’s speech to the droids asking them to surrender, Rex and Echo’s reunion, Crosshair one-upping Wrecker with destroying battle droids, and Anakin’s meeting with Padmé followed by Obi-Wan’s conversation after. The third episode, On the Wing of Keeradraks, however, was easily the weakest episode in the arc. This episode had some very generic dialogue and was just all-around boring because you know three out of the seven characters, Anakin, Rex, and Echo, aren’t going to die or be harmed drastically because Anakin appears in the films and Rex appears in Star Wars Rebels. Echo is a special case because you knew he wasn’t going to be harmed since he was just brought back in the last episode, but you have the suspicious feeling that he might be the Separatists puppet still despite not being in their custody anymore. This mistrust with Echo from the Bad Batch kept me on the edge of my seat. All in all, this arc was a great clone arc for Rex and is very rewatchable with its great action and the humor from the constant back and forth with the Bad Batch.
The next four-episode arc, Ahsoka’s Journey, takes place before the Bad Batch Arc and is honestly the weakest of this season’s stories. This arc follows Ahsoka Tano, who has just recently left the Jedi Order, and her adventure with the Martez Sisters against the Pykes, a gang that is in league with The Shadow Collective. This arc is used to give Ahsoka the proper motivation to take down Darth Maul and his Shadow Collective while also explaining why Ahsoka is helping the Mandalorians leader Bo-Katan. Besides that, this arc is basically filler with the Martez sisters, Raffa and Trace, having great character motivations and believable resentment for the Jedi. However, they just do nothing but take purposefully stupid actions so that Ahsoka can come in and save their skins every single time. The Martez sisters just don’t grow as characters. All in all, this arc isn’t that memorable.
The final arc, The Siege of Mandalore is easily The Clone Wars at its best. From start to finish this arc was just perfect-from its animation, voice acting, and especially its plot. This arc definitely felt like you are watching a movie and my only problem with this arc is that after each episode ended, I wanted to see more.
The arc starts with a stunning sequence where Obi-Wan, Cody, Anakin, R2-D2, and Rex are trying to liberate a city from Separatist control. After they succeed, Anakin receives a transmission from his channel known as Fulcrum and returns to the cruiser, the two Jedi find out that the person using the channel is Ahsoka and Bo-Katan. Anakin is shocked and pleased to see Ahsoka again; however, Ahsoka is not in the mood to catch up and urges for the Republic’s help to siege Mandalore and to take down Maul once and for all.
Obi-Wan is at first hesitant about this and decides to discuss this matter with the Jedi Council while Anakin gives Ahsoka a warm welcome back with the clones. This warm welcome is cut short due to Obi-Wan informing Anakin and Ahsoka about an attack on Coruscant from General Grievous- the beginning of Revenge of the Sith- and that they must leave Mandalore and Maul for now. Ahsoka is disappointed with Obi-Wan and the Jedi Order as a whole by saying that they play politics instead of helping people. Anakin decides to divide up the 501st with Rex in command so that Ahsoka and Bo-Katan can capture Maul with a proper army and so the siege begins.
Eventually, the Republic does take control of Mandalore and Ahsoka faces Maul. However, Maul’s plan was to bring Obi-Wan and Anakin so that he could kill Anakin and rob his master, Darth Sidious, of his new apprentice but he is foiled by Ahsoka. After Maul’s capture, Ahsoka talks with Mace Windu and Master Yoda unknowingly for one last time as they inform her Obi-Wan has engaged General Grievous and that the war could be over soon, depending on the Chancellor’s reaction. Ahsoka is however not told any more information and soon leaves Mandalore with the clones and Maul. Throughout this sequence, there is no dialogue being heard, instead camera shots showed thousands of clones and created this eerie feeling that something was going to happen. If you’ve seen Star Wars, then you know what’s about to happen very soon. Dialogue begins during Ahsoka and Rex’s heart to heart conversation about how they feel about the war and continues until Rex is told that a new briefing has come in from command.
As Rex takes the briefing alone, Ahsoka can feel a disturbance in the Force as Anakin betrays Mace Windu and turns to the Dark Side with the orders coming from Darth Sidious telling Rex to execute Order 66. Ahsoka storms in and is attacked by Rex and the clones. Rex tries to fight the order and Ahsoka tries to find Fives, another clone that was killed to cover up the plot of Order 66 from the Jedi. This scene was heartbreaking to watch for the first time because the music used for Order 66 in the film played while Ahsoka escapes from the clones and adds to the fact that this was not Rex’s own doing to attack Ahsoka, his closest friend.
Ahsoka frees Maul so that he can cause a distraction while she investigates about Fives. She soon finds about inhibitor chips that were implanted in every single clone trooper while they were young so that they could be used to turn against the Jedi and to kill them. Ahsoka then captured Rex and got the inhibitor chip out of him, freeing him from Order 66. In the finale, Rex and Ahsoka try to escape by going for a shuttle inside the hanger but while they fought their way through the clones, Maul had destroyed the hyperdrive to the cruiser and stole the shuttle to escape. Ahsoka and Rex then escape with a Y-wing starfighter as the Star Destroyer crashes onto a nearby moon.
The rest of the episode has no dialogue as we see that Ahsoka and Rex had buried all the clones that died on the cruiser, even Jesse, out of respect, and Ahsoka leaves her lightsaber at the burial site. Flash forward to years later and stormtrooper and probe droids are searching the area as a shuttle lands with no other than Darth Vader inside. Vader walks to the crash site and finds Ahsoka’s lightsaber and simply walks away from a cracked and broken clone helmet thus finally ending the show Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
This arc, and this show as a whole, was amazing. This arc was some of the best storytelling in Star Wars history with characters like Ahsoka and Captain Rex facing their most difficult challenge yet. Not to mention the near-impossible job that the show did in bringing back the long pronounced dead Darth Maul and making him one of the best antagonists in Star Wars, with an amazing job from his voice actor Sam Witwer giving his all in each episode. I am very sad that the show has finally ended but I am excited to see what Dave Filoni and his team of writers have next for us along with how Ahsoka is going to come into play in season 2 of The Mandalorian, that is if the rumors are true. Anyway, the final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars as a whole is a 9.6/10, but the Siege of Mandalore is a 10/10. May the Force be with You, Always….